So you are having a normal day. Your four year old tried to blatantly disobey, but you handled it. You thought you might be late for work, but you made it. You’ve already gotten a few things done. You are exhausted with the thought of all you need to do in the next few days, but it’s not going to be impossible.
Then the phone rings.
It is a number you don’t know that says it is from the other side of the city where your house is. You don’t usually answer, but it is work hours and you have been dealing with some house business, so you answer expecting a robo-call or repairman and you hear, “This is Sgt. ****** from ******* police department.” THE WORLD GOES WHITE.
I know the saying is usually ‘the world goes dark,’ but all you saw was white.
All you can think of was that call you once got from Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office telling you your husband had been shot and killed. You are driving, so you try to pull yourself out of the glare so you can see the road, and try to tune in to what you just heard. It takes a few moments that feel like an eternity to remember that he said Woodstock Police Department and realize this is just a normal work call.
Now, an hour later you are just sitting at your desk staring at the wall, blinking. You know what triggered this reaction, but you still don’t know why it happened.
Not only have I worked with law enforcement most of my career, one of the best parts of my current job involves training law enforcement and I get these calls all the time. There is nothing unusual about an officer calling me to set up training and usually when I hear the words “This is Sgt. ****,” I’m excited because I will get to set up a training with my favorite people. This time, for some unknown reason I was immediately transported back to that moment on June 1, 2016, at home, alone with my one year old, when I got a call telling me my husband had died.
There is a much longer article for another time about all the things that were so much worse about this experience because Atlanta and Fulton County were involved, but it’s not yet time to tell that story. For now I’ll just say, this is the only county around here that calls you rather than comes to your house.
Now I’m still stuck dealing with the fallout of that call three years later, when what should have been a fine day, has been stolen and I can barely do more than blink and breathe.
That is how trauma works sometimes. You don’t see it coming and you don’t always understand why your mind body has been transported back to the worst day of your life. All you know is that whatever shock, and sadness, and weakness in your arms and legs, and tightness in your jaw, and fogginess of your brain, has returned.
I’m going for a walk.
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